More whales, still counting
AS DEBATE raged on the other side of the world about lifting the worldwide ban on whaling, residents on the Coffs Coast marvelled at the beauty of migrating humpbacks.
Armed with binoculars and deck chairs, volunteers helped to count the number of whales passing off our coast on a single day. From the Sawtell, Boambee and Woolgoolga headlands, as well as Muttonbird Island, 107 migrating whales were spotted and recorded over the weekend.
The localised information will be passed onto conservation group ORRCA – the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans, which began surveying whale numbers 10 years ago.
“Without a doubt, since the end of whaling in Australia in 1962, the population of whales that migrate along the East Coast to warmer waters has dramatically increased,” ORRCA president Ronny Ling said.
“The reason we are also seeing more is because we now have more eyes watching from our local headlands.”
Mr Ling said a southern right whale was spotted off Hallidays Point.
“This is pleasing to know given that particular species has come back from the brink of extinction,” he said.
“It’s estimated there are now between 3000 and 5000 southern rights in the Southern Hemisphere.”
ORRCA remains on tenterhooks awaiting the outcome of the International Whaling Commission meeting in Morocco, which is discussing the possibility of granting whale quotas to Japan and Norway after a 25-year moratorium.